Gazpacho, Seville-style


After reading yesterday’s New York Times article, “Gazpacho is the New Orange,” I decided to test drive what was proclaimed to be the best gazpacho.

The orange tone of this gazpacho comes from the red tomatoes which are abundant and great-tasting at this time of year. Close to two pounds of them went into the Vitamix container to make about a quart of gazpacho. The bright orange color, the juice-like mouth feel of this gazpacho, served in glasses — not soup bowls, are distinctly Andalusia of southern Spain. (Seville is the capital of the region.)

Summer weather is sizzling hot in Seville making this the preferred chilled beverage/soup to hydrate, drink or eat. The texture is creamy and smooth, like a smoothie, but lighter. I can chug this down in one big gulp after a hard workout at the gym because it is silky as well as savory. Not the sweet fruity smoothie drink. After sweating so much, I crave salt in my replenishment drink. Gazpacho, Seville-style, is well suited for that and a satisfying eat when you’re hungry. No sugar added. Just fresh vegetables front and center. It’s so light and refreshing, you want to drink it from a glass.

Traditionally, gazpacho was made by pounding the vegetables in a mortar with a pestle. Originating in Southern Spain in the Andalusian region, gazpacho has ancient roots since the Romans. There are a lot of variations out there. But no recipe is needed. Every one has their own favorite recipes. It is about figuring out what you like.

Here is a modern version. No lumps and no mess. A high-power blender is the equipment of choice. What gives this gazpacho the desired smoothness is the olive oil. After all the ingredients are added in the blender, extra-virgin olive oil is drizzled in until the mixture turns bright orange and emulsified. You need to blitz the mixture in a turbo-charged blender like the Vitamix for a few minutes to get it really smooth and homogeneous. Otherwise, you need to strain the final mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or a food mill. Since the recipe calls for a half cup of olive oil, the taste of olive oil comes through loudly. Be sure to use a deep-flavor, high-quality and golden-colored olive oil.

The new orange: best gazpacho

The other supporting ingredients are there to add body and a light flavor to the gazpacho. They are there to support and not to compete with the star ingredients: tomatoes and olive oil. One light long green pepper, like Anaheim, one cucumber, one small mild onion, one clove of garlic and two teaspoons of sherry vinegar rounded out the list. You’d barely notice these ingredients. Vegetables and vinegar provide all the liquid needed. No bread or other garnishes. No spices or herbs. An appropriate purist approach that works fast and uncomplicated for hot summer days. This is a winning gazpacho given the seasonal best tomatoes and a good-tasting olive oil.

What goes well with this gazpacho: artisan country bread and jamon. Splendid!

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